I have only been at Oberlin for two months, but time is already doing that weird elastic thingy where it feels like an instant and an eternity simultaneously. I remember driving into campus for the first time the day before Orientation with astounding clarity; at the same time, I feel as though I've spent multiple lifetimes here already. Considering these confusingly contradictory frames of mind, it isn't surprising that I had no idea how to feel about my very first Fall Break, especially seeing as I was part of the minority that stayed put.
All of my friends (save one!) were heading home for the duration of the week. Kindly enough, they all expressed regret at having to leave us, and suggested ways for us to stave off boredom and loneliness. Indeed, it was shaping up to be a pleasantly relaxing break - in a surreal, post-apocalyptic way - for me and that one other remaining friend, Shota. We pledged to do our level best to keep each other entertained, even if that meant getting lots of practice with slapstick humor and bad puns. Our goal was to be as silly as possible.
To distract us from our nervous visions of an Oberlin devoid of human life, I threw up a blanket fort in my room the Friday night break began and hosted a Lord of the Rings marathon/farewell party. All of my friends shared baked goods from Gibson's, broke out the candy and cuddles, and stayed up ludicrously late together one last time. I slept in on Saturday while they trickled out, and before I knew it, Shota and I were settling in for a quiet week of reading, napping, movies, and playing our instruments. I started my regimen of ripping through at least one book a day, and he brought his string bass back to Dascomb and had fun practicing in the acoustically wacky stairwell across from his room.
Several days passed. I cut my bangs in a fit of restlessness. We went jogging, flung ourselves from a rope swing into one of the ponds in the Arb, regretted it instantly as the icy water glued our clothes to us, laughed about our shared misery, read in Wilder Bowl, wandered around taking pictures, and enjoyed the beautiful weather in general. Life continued, one silliness at a time.
Then, on Wednesday morning while Shota ran errands, I blew up forty balloons in honor of his birthday, rigged them to cascade out into his face when he opened the door to his room, and parked myself in the hall with a book to wait for his homecoming. The balloon drop went beautifully, as did the finger-painting party that followed. Much paint was splattered, with much silliness. We even made some new friends (and they made us some delicious dinner)! The day ended in leaf pile acrobatics and stargazing, and before we turned in for the night, Shota knocked on my door and thanked me for an excellent birthday. It was incredibly gratifying.
The rest of the week sprinted by like Usain Bolt riding a sugar high. Thursday I devoted to household chores - baking, cleaning, laundry - and Friday marked the advent of the first few returnees to Dascomb. It was also the day I realized that I had not done a single bit of work, despite peering at myself in the mirror every morning and resolving to be marvelously productive all day. Silly me. My mom's theory is that this is because my mornings tended to start around eleven or twelve, but I blame the ready availability of many absorbing books. I just can't focus in the presence of readily available, absorbing books.
Between periods of welcoming friends back and cooking food, I used the weekend to catch up on classwork at a semi-leisurely pace. Before I knew it, my roommate and I were scrubbing fistfuls of eyeliner off our faces, brushing out our teased hair, and in general de-zombifying ourselves in the aftermath of a Halloween spent moaning and lurching for the brains of innocent passersby. The last night of break had snuck up on us. While working at removing some particularly stubborn makeup, I had a moment of reflection to myself over a bathroom sink. It was late and I was tired, but I was also aware of a general state of well-restedness that had settled in somewhere in the course of my copious naps and ten-hour nights of sleep. I had an album full of monkey business to upload to facebook so that my previously absent friends could marvel at what Shota and I had done without them. I had a wealth of newly read books to mull over. I was stoked for classes in the morning. It struck me that, without even trying, I'd had a phenomenally silly break while still somehow managing to keep everything laid-back and restful.